Day 77 - "Welcome to Mongolia!"

We took the morning easy. Breakfast, shower, go to get the bikes from their secure parking lot a few blocks away, take pictures with our new Chilean friends. Francisco and Elisabeth, so long and stay save guys! The pretty cold weather also made us not exactly be in a hurry. But we put on all our special space suit layers and head out through city traffic to leave Astrakhan behind us. Crossing the Volga river on a huge bridge reminded me of Jiujiang, where we crossed the Yangtze two and a half months ago. 

Russia is good! Beautiful roads to ride on, beautiful girls on their sides to look at. Only the cold strong wind, blowing over the empty flat landscape and hitting us from the side made us wobble around a bit and tuck in our heads to eliminate any air caps between helmet and jacket. 
Mainly flat and straight, riding through occasional small towns along the way, the plan was to get about 250 km south and camp somewhere beside the Caspian Sea. Our circumnavigation of it was half done and we still haven't seen it!

In one of those little towns we passed a police car. We saw them everywhere and usually they didn't do more then nod their head at us. This guy nodded and raised his police stick thingy a few centimeters while keeping his arms crossed. I (Chris) rode first and thought "That's not enough effort to really make us stop. is it?" So I passed, Matthias and Kim following me. 
Half an hour later at a checkpoint the officer thought differently. "You guys ran from the police who tried to stop you!" (kind of like that in Russian while showing prison bars with his fingers!) But some friendly faces and a quick explanation of where we come from and where we're going were enough and we we're send on the way with a friendly/grumpy "Davai!"

Because we are adventurers to the bone and generally awesome dudes we didn't take the usual longer route, but headed for a dirt road shortcut that promised to be a good load of fun. And we were right! Only Kim was complaining about the sand and occasional mud buddles "Welcome to Mongolia gentlemen! ..I hate Mongolia!" But we still don't believe that's true!

We crossed a main road and discovered at a cigarette break that my radiator was leaking coolant. And quite a lot of it. This radiator was broken already in Samarkand when we had to transport the bike lying on it's side to the mechanics. The flexing of the tank had squashed it. Now the dirt road bumps must have raddled a hole somewhere into the welded parts. 
Go straight and continue 80 km on the dirt road towards south, or ride 100 km to the west on asphalt with a chance to find a mechanic and a place to sleep in the next town. We chose the safe way and felt not so much adventurous anymore. 

There was no mechanic in the little town of Komsomoloskiy to weld the radiator but a brand new little motel. Still more a construction site guarded by two dogs. Perfect for the night! 

In the dark we took the radiator off and tried to locate the leak but could only tell where it must be approximately. We'd have to find a solution tomorrow morning! 

Write a comment

Comments: 0